Target Corp TGT
Q3 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/15/2012

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Target Corporation's Third Quarter Earnings Release Conference Call. During today's presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, you will be invited to participate in the question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Thursday, November 15, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Please go ahead, sir.

Gregg W. Steinhafel - Chairman, President and CEO: Thank you. Good morning, and welcome to our 2012 third quarter earnings conference call. On the line with me today are Kathee Tesija, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Supply Chain; and John Mulligan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

This morning, I will provide an overview of our third quarter results and highlight some of our enterprise strategic priorities and Kathee will discuss category results, guest insights, and upcoming initiatives; and finally, John will provide more detail on our third quarter financial performance along with our outlook for the remainder of 2012. Following John's remarks, we'll open the phone lines for a question-and-answer session.

As a reminder, we're joined on this conference call by investors and others who are listening to our comments today via webcast. Following this conference call, John Hulbert and John Mulligan will be available throughout the day to answer any follow-up questions you may have.

Also, as a reminder, any forward-looking statements that we make this morning are subject to risks and uncertainties, the most important of which are described in our SEC filings.

Finally in these remarks, we refer to adjusted earnings per share, which is a non-GAAP financial measure. A reconciliation to our GAAP results is included in this morning's press release posted on our Investor Relations website.

We are very pleased with Target's third quarter financial performance, which we announced earlier this morning. Our U.S. operations generated adjusted earnings per share of $0.90, above the midpoint of our guidance and 4.3% above last year's very strong performance.

Our third quarter GAAP earnings per share increased 17.6% to $0.96 as dilution related to our Canadian Segment investments was more than offset by favorable tax items and a gain on the pending sale of our receivables portfolio.

Our U.S. Retail Segment generated third quarter comparable store sales growth of 2.9%, in line with our guidance going into the quarter, and this segment generated an EBIT margin rate a bit ahead of expectations, matching our very strong profit performance in the third quarter of 2011. This profit performance reflects the continued benefit of thoughtful and disciplined expense management throughout the organization.

For the last two years, we have relied on this discipline to offset gross margin rate investments we've made in our two most visible growth strategies; 5% REDcard Rewards and our PFresh remodel program. I want to thank our team for reliably delivering on this expectation quarter after quarter, successfully controlling expense growth, while continuing to provide an outstanding experience for our guests.

Read our Earnings Call Transcript disclaimer.
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